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Near Southeast DC Past News Items: December 2007
In the Pipeline
1244 South Capitol
Yards/Parcel O
Virginia Ave. Tunnel
New Douglass Bridge
JBG/Akridge/Half St.
Ex-Monument/Half St.
Yards/Parcel A
Southeast Blvd.
Yards/Icon Theater
1333 M St.
Capper Apts.
250 M St.
New Marine Barracks
Nat'l Community Church
Factory 202/Yards
Congressional Square
1000 South Capitol
Parc Riverside ('14)
Twelve12/Yards ('14)
Lumber Shed ('13)
Boilermaker Shops ('13)
Camden South Capitol ('13)
Canal Park ('12)
Capitol Quarter ('12)
225 Virginia/200 I ('12)
Foundry Lofts ('12)
1015 Half Street ('10)
Yards Park ('10)
Velocity Condos ('09)
Teague Park ('09)
909 New Jersey Ave. ('09)
55 M ('09)
100 M ('08)
Onyx ('08)
70/100 I ('08)
Nationals Park ('08)
Seniors Bldg Demo ('07)
400 M ('07)
Douglass Bridge Fix ('07)
US DOT HQ ('07)
20 M ('07)
Capper Seniors 1 ('06)
Capitol Hill Tower ('06)
Courtyard/Marriott ('06)
Marine Barracks ('04)
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Two bills of Near Southeast interest passed their first readings at today's city council meeting, on the consent agenda, no less. (Consent agenda = no discussion or bickering! Yay!) First was Bill 17-0448, which authorizes the closing of the public alley on Square 696 (bounded by Half, First, I, and K), and which had been interesting mainly for the affordable housing trust fund contribution discrepancy that came up during the bill's hearing a few weeks ago, when the developers noted that they expected their contribution to be in the neighborhood of $900,000 and the Office of Planning determined the required sum be closer to $8 million. Apparently the final bill calls for a $1.1 million contribution, which council chairman Vincent Gray said is the largest trust fund contribution ever as the result of an alley closing. The developers also have agreed to create a 20-foot-wide pedestrian right-of-way through the middle of the block to allow for easy access from I Street to the planned public plaza on K Street, though apparently DDOT requested that this right-of-way be upgradable for "motorized access" in the future if necessary. This alley closing will allow DRI Development to move forward with their plans for 800,000 square feet of office space in three buildings with 37,000 square feet of ground-floor retail. There've been noises that the first construction on the site could begin in the summer of 2008, but nothing official has been announced. (The last tenants on the block, in the cab garage at First and K, are expected to move out in February when their lease expires.)
Also passed today was Bill 17-0292, the Capper PILOT funding bill that I just wrote about in detail a couple days ago. This authorizes a bond issuance of up to $55 million that will yield close to $37 million to pay for infrastructure improvements at Capper/Carrollsburg. The bonds will then be repaid by landowners making payments in lieu of property taxes. I should mention that these PILOT funds won't only be repaid by residents of Capitol Quarter--there are two planned office developments totaling 750,000 square feet that are within the Capper PILOT area (600 M Street at the old Capper Seniors site and 250 M Street) that will generate PILOT payments.
Each bill will come before the council again in January for their final votes.

It's nowhere near as exciting as a liquor license at the ballpark, but I should still pass along that the ANC voted 4-0-3 to support Forest City Washington's request for map and text amendments at The Yards that is going in front of the Zoning Commission on Jan. 11. (The three abstentions were because those commissioners had not received the packet of explanatory materials before the meeting.) The amendments are all pretty technical (larger setback along the Yards's boundary with the Navy Yard, clarifications about ground-floor retail requirements, etc.). You can see the amendments spelled out in the Zoning Commission hearing announcement.
More posts: ANC News, The Yards, zoning

I just got back from ANC 6D's monthly meeting, where the commissioners voted 6-0 (with one abstention) to support the application by Volume Services Inc. for a "CX Arena" liquor license at the new ballpark. This single license would cover all concessions at the stadium, including kiosks, restaurants and boxes, and at individual seats.
The ANC had asked representatives of the Nationals and concessionaire CenterPlate to discuss potential issues with alcohol sales at the ballpark in greater detail, but it became a more freewheeling discussion between the team officials, who are trying to assure nearby residents that the team wants to be a good neighbor, and the commissioners, who feel that the community has received very little communication up to now from the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission and other city agencies about traffic, parking, and other stadium-related issues.
Nationals senior vice president for business affairs Michael Shapiro spoke a number of times of the Nationals' "sincere desire to become a member of the community," and that they want the neighbors "to be proud" of the new ballpark. Shapiro and director of ballpark operations Matthew Blush offered to meet on a regular basis with community leaders, which appeared to be well received by the commission's vice chair Andy Litsky, who described the ANC's dealings with the Sports and Entertainment Commission on ballpark-related issues over the past two years as a "horror show."
Greg McCarthy, who is senior director of the Nationals' ballpark district dealings, spoke about parking and traffic issues, explaining that season ticket holders will be assigned to specific lots and will be given detailed instructions on the correct routes to use, to prevent the cut-through traffic and circling for on-street parking that the team says it will be actively discouraging. The commissioners made clear that parking issues remain a huge concern for residents, and that they want to hear specifics soon about how gameday parking will be handled.
Shapiro and Blush described upcoming outreach efforts such as bringing neighborhood kids to the ballpark for batting practice, getting jobs at the stadium for local residents, and having ambassadors and security outside the ballpark itself before and after games as part of making "the building work for the community." Commissioners and audience members were particularly interested in job opportunities at the ballpark, with the hope that the Nationals will go beyond "hanging out a sign" to actively recruit nearby residents.
As for the liquor license, Shapiro indicated that most of the rules in place at RFK (such as no alcohol sales after the seventh inning) would be in place at the new ballpark, and suggested that the Verizon Center would be used as a guide for how to handle alcohol-related issues for non-baseball events such as concerts. (I'm guessing that liquor sales might not be an issue at the first non-baseball event at the new stadium, which is scheduled to be the April 17 mass by Pope Benedict XVI.)
With some concerns that protesting or otherwise hindering this application might spur the sports commission or the city council to issue a liquor license outside of the city's Alcohol Beverage Control jurisdiction, the ANC gave its support. The license hearing is scheduled for Jan. 2.
In the meantime, the DCSEC, the Nationals, and community leaders have another meeting scheduled for Dec. 19.

I visited my perch above New Jersey Avenue today and got updated photos looking to the south and west and northwest, which provide quite the overview of the changes in the past 21 months on the blocks I've wittily dubbed North of M (between M, South Capitol, the freeway, and New Jersey). The two links above show you just the oldest and the newest photos for each angle, or you can try these links to see all the photos I've taken of those angles, at about three-month intervals.
Of course, the arrivals of 100 M, Onyx, and 70/100 I are the biggest changes; you can also see that Velocity is building the garage levels and will be above ground by late winter, and that 909 New Jersey's crane is now in place, meaning that vertical construction there is not far off. But thanks to the 100 M/Onyx construction, peeks at the ballpark and Monument Half Street from this vantage point are now pretty well gone.
I also took a few ground-level photos of the New Jersey and L intersection to capture the change in the skyline above St. Matthew's, which is easier to see now that that big old tree has dropped its leaves. You can see just today's ground-level shots, or compare them with past photos.
If none of these billion links tickle your fancy, all ground-level and sky-high photos from today can be seen on a single page.

From the BID, more details on the holiday music planned for the Navy Yard Metro entrance this week, and it's three performances over three days, not just one on one day. On Wednesday, Dec. 12, from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm, the a cappella group Reverb will be performing; Patty Reese will perform on Thursday, Dec. 13, from 4 to 5:30 pm, and on Friday, Dec. 14, Reverb will be back from 8 to 9 am. This is sponsored by the BID, WMATA, and the DC Commission on Fine Arts. UPDATE: Here's the release from last Friday (that I overlooked, grrrrrr) on the Metroperforms! program. One thing in it that might be worth noting, just to be on the safe side: "Program participants are not permitted to sell merchandise, nor ask for money from the public while performing."
More posts: Metro/WMATA, staddis

The Post has a story this morning on the concerns of residents about how stadium traffic is going to impact the neighborhoods around the ballpark. "City officials and Nationals executives have been working on plans for new traffic patterns and parking for about 5,000 cars expected at most games. But neighborhood activists said few details about those plans have been made public. And what they have heard has made them more concerned as they watch the mammoth stadium rise above the skyline." Plans for free parking at RFK still have not been finalized, nor have announcements yet been made as to where season ticket holder parking lots will be: "Not knowing the parking sites has left neighbors concerned that they can't predict which streets will be most congested or whether they will be satisfied with the team's plans." Street parking will be limited to residents, as at RFK, though the final boundaries of the restricted areas have not been announced (an early draft of the parking zone, as well as links to the full the Draft Transportation Operations and Parking Plan, are on my Stadium Parking page.)
More posts: parking, Nationals Park

Dec 9, 2007 11:30 AM
The Legal Times blog has an update on lawsuits over the properties seized by the city via eminent domain to make way for the ballpark: "Originally, 24 landowners challenged the District's appraisal of their property, sending the city and the landowners to D.C. Superior Court for more than two years. But in early November, a second round of mediation talks resulted in settlements for all but four of the cases, and the settlements were finalized with the District in November." The post mentions that one settlement resulted in a $51 million payment for four of the parcels after the city initially offered $33 million. You can see the original offers and assessments here; finding out the final prices is a bit more difficult.
More posts: Nationals Park

Dec 9, 2007 10:40 AM
A short blurb in today's Post says that at lunchtime on Dec. 12 there will be an a cappella quintet performing holiday music at the Navy Yard Metro station. "The performances are part of MetroPerforms!, a program designed to showcase the talents of area artists at select station entrances." Fa-la-la-la-la-la-la!
More posts: Metro/WMATA

Dec 8, 2007 12:19 PM
Foggy air with low-in-the-sky not-very-bright December sun is not conducive to snappy photos, so this is just a brief update to capture the most pressing changes to the skyline. Demolition started back up this week at Old Capper Seniors: the southeast wing is now gone, and the east wing is getting smacked with the wrecking ball this morning. You can see the demolition from all angles in the old Capper Senior Expanded Archive. I also took a few shots of 55 M's progress (look for the icon in its Expanded Archive).

Dec 7, 2007 1:02 PM
Because I'm not always so successful in getting people to tell me the current status of various projects, I spend a lot of time pouring through documents hoping to get hints here or there, and within the past few days I've uncovered a few new ones. I sent out some e-mails asking for additional information, but those have gone unanswered (waaaaah!), so I'll just post what I've seen, and wait for the various bureaucratic processes to move along to get more information.
The developers of the planned office building at 1111 New Jersey Avenue are having a Capitol Gateway Overlay Review in front of the Zoning Commission on Jan. 31. This review is now required because Donohoe is buying the land on top of the Navy Yard Metro station east entrance, which means that the project's property now "fronts" M Street and must get a review by the Zoning Commission to make sure it follows the design and usage requirements laid out by the CG Overlay. I haven't seen any new renderings yet to know whether the building has grown from its original 146,000-sq-ft design (note: see UPDATE below). No mentions yet of when construction might start. Presumably this design will be presented to ANC 6D, at perhaps its January meeting.
And, in the Questions and Responses posted along with the Capper PILOT underwriters RFP, there's the following statements:
* 250 M Street, the 200,000-sq-ft office building by William C. Smith, "will commence construction on or about May 2008";
* 600 M Street, the 500,000-sq-ft office building by Forest City on the old Capper Seniors site, "is expected to commence construction in late 2009 or early 2010 -- Stage II PUD process with the District Zoning Commission has already commenced"; and
* 800 New Jersey/120 Canal, the planned 1.1-million-sq-ft mixed use project by William C. Smith on the land north of I between Second and New Jersey (known as Square 737), "will commence Stage II PUD upon transfer of District land in early 2008."
1111 NJ UPDATE: Amazingly, just a few hours later, another document popped up with additional information on 1111 New Jersey: it's for the Dec. 13 WMATA board meeting, a request to execute the sale announced back in June of the 5,612-sq-ft WMATA land at New Jersey and M to "NJA Associates" (aka Donohoe). And it describes the "new" 1111 NJ thusly (emphases mine):
"The Developer proposes to combine the WMATA property with an adjacent 16,406 sf developer-owned site and develop an office building with ground floor retail. Its current proposal to the District of Columbia Zoning Commission is for an approximately 211,000 sf building, a portion of which cantilevers over the WMATA property. At ground level, the proposal includes a wide plaza surrounding the Metro entrance, consistent with the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative Framework Plan. The Developer will make modifications to Metro facilities at its own cost and subject to WMATA approval. At present the modifications are expected to be limited to adjustments to the vent shaft and new paving in the plaza area. The existing entrance canopy will remain. The entrance will be protected during construction. The Developer has stated that it does not currently anticipate any need to close the entrance during construction."
WMATA is selling the land for $2.3 million plus an unnamed additional payment if the approved project is larger 206,000 square feet.

Dec 7, 2007 11:01 AM
Voice of the Hill has posted an article on the status of parking and traffic plans for the new ballpark, which boils down to: team and city officials say it will be okay, neighborhood residents and activists say it won't. The team, as it always has, will be emphasizing Metro as the best way to get to the stadium, and is apparently working on plans for guiding people who drive to the games on the "right way" to get to the various parking lots that will be available. As for the infrastructure work: "Street and sidewalk work is on schedule, and the Navy Yard Metrorail station will be ready to use, but possibly unfinished, by opening day, said Ken Laden, the Transportation Department's associate director for transportation policy and planning. Laden also said the agency is working with Ward 6 Council member Tommy Wells on new street-parking regulations that would discourage on-street parking during games."
According to the Voice there was a community meeting about baseball-related traffic concerns on Nov. 28, which I didn't see announced anywhere. But apparently there's another one scheduled for Dec. 19 at 6:30 pm at Southeastern University.

Dec 6, 2007 4:22 PM
Construction and architecture geeks will be interested to read the cover story of the latest issue of the Engineering News-Record, which is an in-depth chronicle of the fast-track design/build approach used to build Nationals Park in 23 months, which if completed on time will break the speed record for major-league ballpark contruction. There's also a sidebar on how the stadium may be the first major league sports facility to be LEED certified.
More posts: Nationals Park

Dec 6, 2007 2:01 PM
If you're interested in the "Taxation Without Representation Federal Tax Pay-Out Message Board Installation Act of 2007" (Bill 17-0028) that would put electronic tote boards on the Wilson Building and the ballpark showing the federal taxes that District residents pay while still having no votiing representation in Congress, the council hearing is now underway, which you can watch on DC Cable 13 or via streaming video. I wrote about it a few days back, and today's WashTimes gives some detail on what the bill calls for. I'll have more after the hearing is finished.
Post-Hearing UPDATE: The first two hours of the hearing were more of a general discussion about the current state of DC voting rights, which included multiple mentions that the $3 billion that District residents pay each year in federal taxes is higher than the tax burdens of seven states, and nearly as high as four others. It wasn't until DC Sports and Entertainment Commission CEO Greg O'Dell started his testimony that the issue of whether the council even can legislate the addition of a sign to the ballpark came up.
Because the lease agreement signed by the team and the city states that the Nationals control the signage on the stadium's interior, exterior, and perimeter, the DCSEC's outside counsel feels that this tote-board bill "could conflict" with the lease. O'Dell took a pretty tough batch of questions from council chair Vincent Gray about whether O'Dell himself thinks this sign is a good idea--he punted a number of times, saying he wanted to be "mindful of the process" and "respectful of my board" until Gray finally pinned him down to admit that he thinks it's a good idea. O'Dell did say that the sports commission would move to implement whatever the council decides.
Chairman Gray commented a few times on his unhappiness that the citizens of the District are paying $611 million for the ballpark but can't put this sign up without going to the Nationals for approval. As to the issue of whether the sign's costs would violate ballpark cost cap, O'Dell indicated that if the sign cost less than $100,000 that he didn't think it would cause any cap problems.
So, one would imagine that there will now be some intense negotiations between the city and the Nationals to get their approval for the sign. But given the response that Stan Kasten gave to Mark Plotkin (described here and here) about the moving the DC Taxation Without Representation sign that currently hangs at RFK to the new ballpark, it will be interesting to see how this tote-board discussion turns out.
More posts: Nationals Park

Dec 6, 2007 12:06 PM
Reader M. gets in the What's the Deal With spirit by asking "WTDW Capitol Quarter?", noting that the first deposits for houses in the development were accepted in October 2006, and that move-ins still have not begun. A few weeks ago I reported that residents-in-waiting were being told that construction on the houses themselves might not start until the second quarter of 2008; while I'm not privvy to what I'm sure is all sorts of behind the scenes stuff about why the project has taken so long to get underway (believe it or not, large commercial companies and city government officials are not all that excited about keeping me in the loop on stuff like that!), there is some news today that indicates that the project is continuing to move forward.
The city council's Committee on Finance and Revenue will be having a mark-up session this afternoon at 3:45 that includes Bill 17-0292, the "Arthur Capper/Carrollsburg Public Improvements Revenue Bonds Approval Amendment Act of 2007", which, in amending the original Capper PILOT bill from 2006, makes some "technical clarifications" and also authorizes a $55 million bond issuance. This bond, now $11 million larger what was originally anticipated because of increased borrowing costs, will provide $36.7 million for public infrastructure improvements like environmental remediation, building of two new streets (Second Place and Third Place), and water and sewer upgrades and replacements. Once this bill is passed by the council, the Housing Authority will be able to move forward with issuing the bonds, probably in Q2 2008; in fact, they have already sent out a Request for Proposals for underwriters for these bonds, which closes on Friday (Dec. 7). This bond will then be repaid by the payments in lieu of property taxes that landowners within the Capper PILOT area will be responsible for. (The draft council bill and the underwriting RFP give much more detail about the PILOT plan, if you're interested.)
The construction that's currently tearing up the streets at Capitol Quarter is a separate first-phase contract, allowing EYA to complete the initial work on public infrastructure that needs to be done before they can start work on the "private" infrastructure (the utilities and other work under the house lots themselves). Once that is done, then "vertical construction" can begin on the houses themselves, which is the work that is now scheduled to begin in the spring.
And, the DC Building Permit feed shows that six-month extensions for Capitol Quarter permits have recently been approved.
So, while none of this answers what was probably the meat of the WTDW question--I know everyone really wants all sorts of skinny on the "whys" of the delays--it does give some semblance of an update on where things are.
Post-Hearing UPDATE: The bill was moved out of mark-up ("reported favorably") with no discussion, and next goes to Committee of the Whole (presumably at next Tuesday's meeting). Note that the online version of the bill is the original draft, and may not reflect the current wording. Jack Evans mentioned at mark-up that there will be an amendment offered at the Committee of the Whole, but didn't elaborate. And here's the draft committee report on the bill, which gives a less technical description of the changes being made to the original 2006 PILOT legislation.
More posts: Capper, What's the Deal?

Dec 6, 2007 9:47 AM
The WashTimes reports: "A corporate naming rights deal for the $611 million stadium will not be in place for the 2008 season as the team is running out of time to complete an agreement for this spring, principal owner Mark Lerner said." The ballpark is officially Nationals Park in the meantime. And: "Lerner also confirmed the Nationals are close to a deal to hold their first game at the new stadium on Sunday, March 30, which would allow the game to air live on ESPN. He said all that remains is final approval from the Major League Baseball Players Association, but the deal could be completed as soon as this week. [...] If the game is approved, the Nationals likely would play the Atlanta Braves, then embark on a road trip to Philadelphia and return to Washington the following week."
These tidbits came from yesterday's holiday lighting ceremony, which I wasn't able to attend (though the Nats320 blog was there and has photos) and which doesn't seem to be covered on the local networks' video offerings. But be sure to look at the stadium web cam images from Wednesday evening for some particualrly striking photos of the ballpark, lit up at night with a blanket of snow on the field.
UPDATE: Oops, here's the piece on the ceremony, with lots of details.
UPDATE II: One more note on the holiday lighting ceremony--a press release from the Nationals today says that the Nationals and Clark Construction subsequently donated the 10-foot Douglas Fir used in the ceremony to the South Washington/West of the River Family Strengthening Collaborative, for its use at a Dec. 12 holiday celebration at Westerminster Presbyterian Church at 400 I Street, SW.
More posts: Nationals Park

Dec 5, 2007 6:54 PM
Braving the flakes of snow, the fledgling Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District held its first general membership meeting today, which included the election of its Board of Directors. From looking at the list of the 21 new board members, it seems the BID has made sure that every major developer in Near Southeast and Buzzards Point is represented on the board. Five "at-large stakeholders" were also named, allowing organizations who are a big part of the neighborhood's future but who don't actually own land within the BID's borders to be included in the BID's activities. This group includes representatives of the Nationals, the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission, and Forest City Washington (developer of The Yards). One actual resident of the neighborhood was elected, too. (Hi Darryl!) At subsequent meetings the directors will get down to the board-ly business of electing a chair and vice chair and populating and executive committee and additional committees on Marketing/Public Relations, Economic Development, Transportation and Access, and Public Realm. Anything else you could possibly want to know about the BID's governing structure can be found in the bylaws.
The press release about the meeting also reports that the six "clean team members" have collected more than 1,200 bags of trash around the BID, and two "hospitality/safety ambassadors" have provided "over 50 informational assists."
UPDATE: WBJ writes a blurb from the press release, too.

Dec 5, 2007 10:09 AM
The Post reports that there was a rally at RFK yesterday by nonunion works protesting the lack of construction jobs for city residents at the ballpark. "The agreement for the Southeast Washington ballpark called for at least half of the journeyman workforce and all new apprentices to be District residents, but the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission said in an October report that 32 percent of the journeymen and 91 percent of the apprentices have been from the city. Protesters complained that because the ballpark contract requires union workers, a large number of minorities were left out of the hiring."
And, in a story just barely tied to the stadium, The WashTimes reports about the Nationals' work through its Dream Foundation to create a youth baseball academy at Fort DuPont Park in Southwest, perhaps at the expense of renovating the city's baseball and softball fields: "Under the conditions of the lease tied to the Nationals' new ballpark, the team is required to help youth baseball programs in the District by operating a new baseball academy, holding clinics and providing free equipment to groups in need. By most accounts, the team has done well in meeting those requirements, but a provision of the lease calling for the team to renovate fields in the city has gotten less attention. [...] Tanenbaum said she is aware of complaints involving the city's playing fields but said she is being cautious about taking on too much in just the second year of operations for the foundation [...] Nationals director of community relations Barbra Silva said she and Tanenbaum have talked with Play Ball DC and the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation and said the team could begin helping with renovations this year. But they want to ensure the fields not only are renovated but maintained." The article also mentions that the foundation "will start a charitable program next spring relating to the neighborhood around the team's new ballpark."
More posts: Nationals Park

Dec 4, 2007 10:21 PM
On the same day that Washington was named the #1 Walkable City in the country, Tommy Wells's office has announced his 1st Annual Livable, Walkable Community Awards ceremony, recognizing efforts of "neighbors, city employees, civic organizations, and local businesses" who show liveable, walkable vision and leadership. The ceremony is on Wednesday Dec. 5 at the East Hall of Eastern Market from 6 to 9 pm--there will be food, drink, a cash bar, and live entertainment, and the the awards begin at 7:30. So walk on over!
More posts:

Dec 4, 2007 8:03 PM
With the late-season information lull now upon us, I thought it might be a good time to launch a new semi-regular feature: What's the Deal With....? I'm envisioning this as a chance to answer questions about things you see around the neighborhood or on this web site, since it's I know it's hard keeping up with the torrent of information that comes at you from JDLand. I do freely admit that I'm sometimes not so great at re-addressing the basics, since I'm so focused on digging out the latest news. And of course many of the folks who wander by are newcomers trying to get caught up with the backstory--or are veteran visitors who aren't necessarily keeping up with Near Southeast in quite such a *detailed* manner as Some People. (Why I'm only thinking of this now after almost five years of responding to questions like this mainly via e-mail, I don't know. I guess the desperation to have new content is a strong force!)
So, if you have a question that might be a good fit for WTDW...?, drop me a line, and we'll see what we come up with. I'll be looking for questions that have concrete answers, rather than requests for ruminations on the big picture. (And don't be like the college journalism student I recently heard from who sent me one dozen essay-level questions about Near Southeast, and requested that I return my answers by the end of the day.)
I'll start with an e-mail that arrived today from a reader asking about the status of Onyx on First, the 260-unit residential tower by Faison and Canyon-Johnson under construction on the southeast corner of First and L. Onyx was launched in late 2006 as a condo project and is scheduled to open in Fall 2008, but although there's a web site with general information, sales at the building have yet to get underway. (The trailers you see behind Normandie Liquors at First and M arrived back in the spring to house the Onyx sales office, but have sat unused for more than six months.) Rumors about Onyx's status have been floating around as the DC condo market softens, but so far no change to the original plans has been announced. When I hear something confirmed, I'll post it here as fast as my little fingers can type.

Dec 3, 2007 9:44 PM
Just a few hours after the Nationals turn on the holiday lights at the ballpark this Wednesday, the Anacostia Community Boathouse (nestled between the spans of the 11th Street Bridges) will have its own ceremonial lighting, as part of the annual Boathouse Lighting and Community Awards Ceremony. The awards are for individuals and groups "who have shown an outstanding committment to advancing ACBA's mission of sponsoring rowing and paddling programs that foster physical fitness and camaradarie, connect neighborhoods along the Anacostia to the waterfront, and build a spirit of environmental stewardship through increased recreational usage." Receiving the ACBA Champion Award will be former mayor Tony Williams, in recognition of his work as the architect of the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative.
Not only does former Mayor Bowtie A. Baseball get the award, he also gets to flip the switch to illuminate the boathouse. And the other marinas along the Anacostia Waterfront will also be lighting their clubhouses for the holiday season. The awards ceremony and lighting start at 6:30 pm, followed by a public reception.
More posts: Boathouse Row

Dec 3, 2007 10:40 AM
If on Saturday evening you saw the skies over South Capitol Street look a bit brighter than usual, it was the lights along the first-base line at Nationals Park being tested. If you want to see what it looked like inside the stadium, check the ballpark web cam for Dec. 1 at around 6:40 pm.
And speaking of lighting up the ballpark, there's going to be a "holiday lighting ceremony" at the stadium on Wednesday afternoon. Following remarks about PNC Bank being named a "founding partner" of the team for 2008, a Christmas tree, Menorah, and Kwanzaa candles will be lit. And Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman will "distribute holiday cheer and gifts to the workers."
More posts: Nationals Park

Dec 3, 2007 9:37 AM
A few notes to add to recent items:
* I don't get on the Southeast Freeway on a regular basis, so only yesterday did I see the huge Capitol Yards sign hanging on the side of 70 I, facing the freeway. Oops; would have helped me write Saturday's entry on the new project web site a day or two sooner! UPDATE: And, with good timing, here's a new press release touting the "topping out" of 70 and 100 I Street. They are scheduled to open in summer 2008.
* Both the PSA 105 and MPD 1D mailing lists (registration required) have been discussing the November spate of car thefts, which included not only Near Southeast but Capitol Hill and other neighborhoods. Apparently the three thefts recently listed for the unit block of L Street (which I didn't blog about because I was a little suspicious that there might be a mistake in the data flow) were three cabs stolen from the same lot. Also, 1D commander David Kemperin says that the Auto Theft Unit was deployed to the area, and that "an arrest was recently made for auto theft and other information obtained from an arrest for unregistered auto that may link some of these thefts." If you're interested in ongoing discussions about crime in the area, a subscription to these lists is probably a good idea.
* On Friday I wondered aloud what Phil Mendelson's response would be to Mayor Fenty's press conference on 225 Virginia and the Consolidated Forensics Lab, and, like magic, his complete statement appeared in my inbox. "Learning about today's announcement, I am unsure about what can be considered 'new' news regarding the progress of the Consolidated Forensics Lab and the relocation of various public safety facilities. We learned of the probability of Bowen Elementary School being used to house the First District Police Headquarters at an oversight hearing I held on this issue on September 20th of this year. We also knew then that the administration was looking for suitors for the property at 225 Virginia Avenue, SE; nothing new was announced about this today." Read the rest here.

Dec 1, 2007 1:27 PM
With a hat tip to a tipster who shall remain nameless, I'm passing along, the new splashy web site launched by JPI to market its four Near Southeast apartment buildings along I Street, which will total 1,350 rental units and which together are being called "Capitol Yards."
The two buildings I always cover together as 70 and 100 I Street have been dubbed Jefferson and Mercury at Capitol Yards, and although they're right next to each other they will have distinctly different looks-and-feels. The Jefferson will have more of a "warehouse" feel, with "exposed brick and hardwood floors" for a "spacious loft-style atmosphere", while the Mercury next door will be going for "up-to-the-minute finishes."
Across the street, 909 New Jersey is now known as 909 at Capitol Yards, and its page touts a "two-story lounge with a modern bar, plasma TVs and a 90-inch projection TV" as well as an Asian-themed spa and a rooftop deck with "lounging and grilling areas." This building will also have restaurant and retail tenants on the first floor (which might also prove to be a handy stop for Nationals fans walking along New Jersey going to or from the Capitol South Metro station).
The pages for each of these projects also include animated views of the building's exteriors.
There's also a page for what's now 23 Eye at Capitol Yards (though I haven't decided yet if I'm going to always indulge that whole "Eye" thing), which has the first rendering I've seen of the building that will eventually go up west of Half Street (where the Wendy's and a towing company currently reside). Its page touts not only a rooftop pool, but also a rooftop dog park, which one would like to assume will be outfitted with very high fences. The 421 units are being described as "two-story true loft homes with 18-foot windows"; the site also says that the building will be Washington's first LEED silver-certified residential building.
You can wander through my project pages for each of these buildings to see where they're at (and what their lots looked like before). The furthest along are 70 and 100 I, scheduled to open in the summer, and are now topped out and getting their brick facades. The hole has been dug for 909 New Jersey, and it is supposed to open in mid-2009. Nothing has changed yet at the 23 I site, but construction is expected to start in 2008.

Dec 1, 2007 9:05 AM
This morning's quick hits:
* The Voice of the Hill has posted a piece on its web site surveying the community reaction to the 11th Street Bridges EIS, while the December issue of the Hill Rag looks at the project from the perspective of Hill East.
* The Hill Rag also has a recap of the November ANC 6D meeting, which focused mainly on Southwest issues, though there is a small blurb about the ballpark liquor license (it sounds like there were some concerns about the 8 am to 3 am time frame listed on the application).
* Meanwhile, the December Southwester reports on the Oct. 3 groundbreaking at The Yards by reprinting much of the Forest City press release on the project.
* Out of my realm, but I'll still pass along that the four short-listed development teams will be presenting their proposals for Poplar Point at Dec. 12 at 6:30 pm at Birney Elementary School, 2501 Martin Luther King, Jr., Ave., SE.
* I'm watching with interest a public space permit application this week by Cofeld LLC for 1271 First Street, which is the lot on the northwest corner of First and N, which had a raze permit filed for it in June. Hints of demolition? We'll see if the permit data, when approved, tell us anything further.
* UPDATE: One more quickie to add. The Garfield Park-Canal Park Connector Project has posted notes and summaries of discussions at their Oct. 24 workshop. Topic areas discussed included Biking and Walking, Under the Freeway, Public Art, Urban landscape, and History & Neighborhood Heritage.
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